Stuff That Only Pisses Off a Typographer

Nitpicking time.

I’m really looking forward to the new Clive Owen/Paul Giamatti film Shoot ’Em Up. Yes, I know the movie requires a ludicrous suspension of disbelief, but it really hearkens back to the heady days of nonsensical ’80s R-rated action films. Rambo, Commando, and the like. The kind of films where you could really turn your brain off and enjoy the cartoonish action. A genre that 1988’s Die Hard — much as I love it — kind of ushered out the door.

The trailer kicks some serious ass. Makes it perfectly clear what you’re in for — either that’s your thing or it’s not.

But the logo drives me absolutely nuts. Just evidence that we are living in an increasingly computer-reliant society, without any capacity for independent judgment.

Look closely. The logo reads: Shoot ‘Em Up.

Notice anything odd?

The apostrophe — there to indicate the omission of the “th” from the word “them” — is backwards. Put simply, they’ve used an opening single quotation mark instead of an apostrophe.

Why? Because word processors automatically assume that a single quote preceding text must be an opening quotation mark. The typed apostrophe (there being just a single key on a standard keyboard for it) is automatically converted. Despite the fact that it’s the wrong character. And whoever laid out that type is too lazy — or too ignorant — to fix it.

A competent typographer would change it immediately. Hell, I manually change all of my quotation marks (single and double) and apostrophes to the correct characters even here, where I have to manually type in the character codes.

And no, the hypocrisy of my criticizing a minor typographical error in the context of a film of this genre is not lost on me. But I’m still irritated.

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